Today?s training tip comes from Eric Cressey:
Wait a Bit for Back Health
Would you believe that you're actually shorter after a day on your feet than you are when you wake up in the morning? At night, there?s an inflow of fluid to the intervertebral discs. Once you're up and about, the pressures affecting the spine change, and the fluid leaves the disc. Most of this outflow occurs in the hour after you rise.
The main problem with this daily change in spine length is that increased fluid content obviously makes the discs expand. In turn, the spine is much stiffer when you bend. Unfortunately, the muscles don't do anything to compensate, so there?s markedly increased stress on the discs and ligaments. Body temperature is also lower upon rising, so range of motion (ROM) is compromised even further. As the day goes on and you move around more, body temperature increases and the fluid flows out of the disc, improving ROM and reducing ligament stress. McGill (2004) noted that in the morning, disc-bending and ligament stresses during forward flexion were 300% and 80% greater than when performed later in the day. Moreover, lumbar flexion ROM increases by 5-6? during this same time period.
The take-home message it to give your spine at least thirty minutes ? preferably longer ? to prepare for activity in the morning. This injury-prevention strategy isn't just limited to lifting; you should also go out of your way to avoid early-morning stretching, especially in positions involving significant lumbar flexion.
Where does this sit with all the talk now of doing cardio first thing in the AM?
Very interesting and useful tip though.